President Obama, Facebook, and images of success

Recently, as the election draws ever nearer, there has been a slew of images and charts proclaiming that President Obama has been wildly successful in his current Administration. While the President himself has largely avoided discussing his record with the public as he is on his re-election campaign stops, Facebook and other social media are picking up the slack – especially with younger Americans who have historically known the least about politics.

We picked one of these images of success – – arbitrarily from Facebook – and decided to examine the truth of the claims. As important, we sought to determine if proper context was maintained.

Obama Success List

Obama Success List as found on Facebook from President Obama hasn't broken any promises, he's kept them

The page – President Obama hasn’t broken any promises – he’s kept them, provided the above image. They denote themselves as a Democratic site with the purpose of

“… this group is to stop focusing on only the negative and start learning more about the positive and realize that while things are tough, they are not hopeless. President Obama hasn’t any broken promises, he has kept over 90% of them.”

Immediately we can see that this Democrat page is obviously either biased or oblivious to facts. Politifact.com, a Pulitzer prize winning site that is independent and a well-regarded fact checking site, has established a complete list of the promises of President Obama. There were a total of 532 promises made – and they have kept track of the progress of all of them on their “Obameter“.

According to this source President Obama has kept 37% of his promises, compromised on 13%, broken promises on 15%, stalled on 11%, with a total of 24% for those promises still in the works. No matter how you might want to regard or categorize the promises, there is no way that 90% (as claimed on Facebook) can be justified.

Therefore, we establish that the source for this Facebook image is fundamentally flawed.

Moving on to the claims themselves:

  • Saved the US auto industry from collapse
    That is debatable. While it is true that the auto industry continues to exist – FORD was never at risk of failure. Chrysler has failed to repay its debt in full (as we noted at the time) and is currently owned by Fiat (an Italian company). GM is still underwater versus the breakeven cost to the bailout ($53/share) and has several questions about its long-term viability.

    So the US auto industry has been reduced in size, remains in debt, and is on questionable footing. ‘Saved’ may be too strong a term, delayed may be more fitting.

  • Found and killed Osama bin Laden
    Definitely happened under his watch. A plan that was started long before he took office, and executed in a manner that does not match any military operation his Administration has been in charge of. But he gets the credit on that.

  • Passed Health Care Reform
    Indeed it passed. Without transparency, as promised. With backdoor deals among Dems to guarantee the needed votes, and while politicians admitted they voted without reading the law (Rep Conyers). A law that has been opposed by the majority of Americans (roughly 60% on average) according to all major polls since July 2009. A law the majority of Americans have wanted repealed, and was passed with grave warning of its implications by Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts.

  • Created 4 million jobs in 3 years
    The number of unemployed in January 2009 was 11.6 million, a rate of 7.6%. The most recent number of unemployed as of June 2012 is 12.7 million, a rate of 8.2%. That is a net decrease in jobs.

    Without taking into account the underemployment rate (which is debatably the real unemployment rate and would provide even worse figures) the Obama Administration has yet to see a positive growth in jobs. But if the data is being cherry-picked to show the number of jobs created WITHOUT regard to jobs lost net, then it is in the realm of credibility.

  • Quadrupled US renewable energy investment
    It is unclear if this includes “investments” like the loans to Solyndra, which are a complete loss. Does investment include a positive return or just the funds given. The wording implies success and a tangible return, which has not been the result to date. Lack of context invalidates this.

  • Ended the practice of Wall St profiting from federal student loans program
    Student loans remain a profit generator. Financial institutions and colleges still retain profit from these loans, several of which are stock market entities. By definition this is a false statement. The implication is that prior practices that caught political attention have ended, which is true to an extent. Again context is lacking and the statement is invalid as it stands.

  • Ended the war in Iraq
    Though there was an official statement of the end of the war (Aug 31, 2010), casualties for the US continued to occur until December 18, 2011. In the first 2 months after US troops left 1000 Iraqis were killed by insurgents. But the US did retreat, and the stability of Iraq remains in question.

    Of note would be the continued actions in Afghanistan, the initiation of military action without Congressional support in Libya, and the selective military support of some Middle East nations, as well as the controversy of guided missile attacks. This says nothing of the increased tensions with our ally Israel. Full context of the President on international military affairs cannot be deduced while excluding these factors.

  • Reached across the isle and worked with Republicans
    Yet again a lack of context. What issue is this in reference to. It does not apply to the major initiatives of the Obama Administration – Health Care Reform was not bipartisan. Nor was the recent unilateral executive decision on illegal aliens. Neither was the effort against the State of Arizona. There has not been a budget passed since President Obama took office – with issues like the debt ceiling nearly causing the federal government to close. Worse, the military actions against Lybia were at odds with both Republicans and Democrats – is that what was meant by working across the isle? Without context, this is another invalid assertion.

  • Lifted ban on stem cell research
    Correct

  • Cut taxes for 95% of working families and small businesses
    If this is referring to the Obama Stimulus – that is accepted as a failed program according to the objectives of President Obama, though it did include tax cuts. If this is in reference to the Bush Tax Cuts, which were extended by President Obama in a last minute deal with Republicans, that is not an Obama Administration item.

    Also, it should be considered the other economic fallout of the Obama Administration. Cost of food and consumer goods has increased. The national debt has severely increased, placing a higher burden on the nation as well.

    Thus, there may be a tax cut that President Obama can take credit for, or not, though ultimately the economy is in more danger of collapse than previously.

  • Reduced Government spending to the lowest level since Eisenhower
    This is a direct play on discretionary and non-discretionary spending. It is in reference to the INCREASE in new spending by the Government, not the total amount spent. The last attempt of a budget by the Obama Administration (May 2012) failed in the Democrat lead Senate with a vote of 99-0. This is a misleading statement, and actively removes context to sound positive – it is invalid.

  • Repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
    A questionable action, with objection from some generals in the military (specifically Marine Commandant James F. Amos). It remains controversial, but a major boon politically for the lesbian/gay vote. But as stated it is correct.

  • Signed Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act
    No question on these actions as stated.

    In review, we see that this promotion, like many on Facebook are without context and seeks a political goal rather than a depiction of fact. While several items highlighted are successes, they require a selective and obfuscating view of facts and details to come to the conclusion being made.

    In addition, scant attention is made to the major policy initiatives of the Obama Administration. The Making Homes Affordable Act, the Obama Stimulus, a national budget. Zero attention is focused on initiatives that failed to even make it through the Dem led Senate, like the DREAM Act.

    Once again Facebook has proven that it is quite successful at dispersing media to the masses, but the credibility of such information is dubious at best.

    Of course, if you base your vote on the number of likes on a Facebook post, there may be more serious issues to address.

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  • About the Author

    Michael Vass
    Born in 1968, a political commentator for over a decade. Has traveled the U.S. and lived in Moscow and Tsblisi, A former stockbroker and 2014 Congressional candidate. Passionate about politics with emphasis on 1st and 2nd Amendments.

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